By Raymundo Frasquillo
Morenci’s basketball girls host the East Region leading Pima Roughriders Tuesday, Jan. 16, the Tucson Saint Augustine Catholic Wolves Thursday, Jan. 18, and the region bottom dwelling Tombstone Yellow Jackets Saturday, Jan. 20.
The Wildcats (6-12 overall, 4-7 seeding, minus 3.6041 rating, 4-3 region for No. 4) are ranked No. 27 of 51 2A teams while the Roughriders (10-6, 9-2, 5.7813, 7-0 for No. 1) are No. 8 as of Monday, Jan. 15.
The rest of the East Region teams are No. 17 Thatcher (12-9, 6-5, 0.2171, 5-1 for No. 2), No. 20 Benson (11-7, 6-5, minus 0.6982, 4-3 for No. 3), No. 33 Willcox (4-9, 3-7, minus 7.1234, 2-4 for No. 5), No. 45 Bisbee (5-12, 2-8, minus 13.3630, 2-7 for No. 6), and No. 49 Tombstone (2-15, 1-9, minus 18.0270, 0-6 for No. 7).
Other 2A East Region contests this week include Thatcher at Tombstone and Willcox at Bisbee Tuesday, plus Pima at Willcox and Benson at Thatcher Friday, Jan. 19.
Last week, the Wildcats topped the Pumas 55-35 in Bisbee Jan. 9, fell 42-57 to the Bobcats in Benson Jan. 12 and 26-70 to the New Mexico Silver High Fighting Colts in Morenci Jan. 13.
Silver – 70, Morenci – 26
Senior Ashley Hernandez drilled a 3-pointer 44 seconds after junior Leksiah Juare’s 3-pointer gave the visitors an advantage five seconds into the contest. The tie would be the only one of the game and Morenci never led. Numerous intercepted passes and rebounded missed shots were turned into uncontested visitor lay-ups.
Silver outscored Morenci 25-8 in the ensuing 6:55 for a 28-11 advantage with 16 seconds left in the opening period. The Fighting Colts shutout the Wildcats in the second period for a 40-11 halftime lead, and led 64-22 heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Head coach Steven Chavez offered no excuses after seeing the Wildcats run out of their own gym, outhustled and out-played in every facet of the game.
Morenci totaled 10 field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 3-6 free throws compared to 28 field goals (seven 3-pointers) plus 7-7 free throws by Silver.
Hernandez netted half the team points, 13, on four field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 2-5 free throws. Junior Reona Alvarez added six points, senior Alex Chee five, and senior Janeene Lang two.
For Silver, sophomore Katelynn Limardo tallied a game-high 23 points on seven field goals (four 3-pointers) plus 5-5 free throws, junior Jazzmin Topper 16 on seven field goals (two 3-pointers), and Alysia Salas 12 on six field goals. Juare added seven points, both senior Jadynn Dominguez and freshman Arianna Gomez four, and both senior Amira Hill and freshman Alissa Jameson two.
Benson – 57, Morenci – 42
The Wildcats outscored the Bobcats 21-12 in the fourth period, but trailed 21-45 at its’ start. Benson had double-digit scoring in each the four periods, leading 17-2 after the opening period and 33-10 at halftime.
Morenci was unable to completely erase the 15-point opening period deficit.
The Wildcats totaled 17 field goals (two 3-pointers) plus 6-17 free throws versus 22 field goals (five 3-pointers) plus 9-21 free throws by Benson.
Lang paced the Wildcats in scoring with 15 points on five field goals (one 3-pointer) plus 4-6 free throws. Chee added eight points, Hernandez five, both Alvarez and senior Heather Lee four each, freshman Destinee Marquez three, junior Faith Hood two, and sophomore Brigid Silvester one.
For Benson, both senior Brittany Barney and freshman Emily Darwin had 16 points, Barney on five field goals (four 3-pointers) plus 2-2 free throws and Darwin on six field goals plus 4-11 free throws, and junior Kaysen Maakestad 11 on four field goals plus 3-3 free throws. Senior Hailey Garner added six points, and senior Piper Thoutt, junior Jamie Barney, sophomore Izabell England, and freshman Taylor Fenn each with two.
Morenci – 40, Bisbee – 15
Morenci extended a 13-12 first-period edge with a 13-3 second-period outing, Chee with six points, Hernandez three, sophomore Desiree Babb and Lee two apiece, to lead 26-15 at halftime. A 29-20 second-half effort assured a region win.
The Wildcats netted 23 field goals (seven 3-pointers) plus 2-8 free throws compared to 12 field goals (three 3-pointers) plus 8-17 free throws for the Pumas.
Hernandez matched her jersey number in scoring, netting 22 points on eight field goals (six 3-pointers) and Chee 13 on six field goals plus 1-4 free throws. Silvester added five points, Lee and Marquez four apiece, Lang three, and both Babb and freshman Sarina Robledo two each.
For Bisbee, Chavez had 14 points on four field goals plus 6-19 free throws. Morales added eight points, Villegas six, Chapman three, and both Moore and Polanco two each.